It's good to see the Government has started working with Māori and Pasifika communities to raise vaccination rates.
It's my view those communities should have been given priority from the beginning.
We reported last week that one-quarter of Māori have been fully vaccinated in the Lakes District Health Board region.
But still, that's three-quarters who still need persuasion.
And perhaps the approach should not have come from a place of authority but from the communities themselves.
I'm glad that now Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has somewhat conceded this. During a visit to Rotorua yesterday she said: "Working out of Wellington is not the way we're going to reach into those individual communities, it will be whānau and providers who know their communities best who will have the best chance to reach them."
In communities where there is a natural distrust of authority figures and government in particular, the approach should have been, from the beginning, to talk to the community leaders and collaborate and ask of them: "What's the best way that we can do this, that has the best outcome for this community?"
The Government's goal is singular, the way I see it: get our eligible population vaccinated as quickly as possible.
But the issues are nuanced, particularly around vaccine hesitancy and the fears about getting the jab.
I think those feelings could be assuaged by Māori and Pasifika themselves.
Seeing and listening to people they trust would have been more helpful – not the Government's "carrot or stick" approach. With our country, one size does not fit all.
Te Arawa Covid Response Hub kaumātua Monty Morrison said last month a reason behind vaccine hesitancy in the Māori community was a lack of access to information.
Associate Health Minister for Māori Peeni Henare, who was also in town with Ardern, said the groups rollout structure the Government ended up using was because of a lack of infrastructure.
"You might recall we had to have the vaccine stored at the right temperature – not every provider could do that. For the first four or five months of the vaccine rollout, grow the infrastructure for the big populations and that's where we find ourselves."
It's my view that those other vulnerable communities should have been consulted with and listened to from the get-go.
Henare has previously said that Māoridom's low vaccination rates can be laid "squarely at the feet of Māori themselves".
In my view, it's a bit unfair considering they weren't prioritised as a group and the rollout in the age groups did not capture the fact the median age for Māori is 26.
It's even worse for Pasifika, where the median age is 23.
The median age for the general population is 37.
The early rollout of groups 1 and 2 automatically cut out half of those groups' populations even though they are considered medically vulnerable demographics.
So while it's great the PM's out and about promoting the vaccine, it's high time we put the trust into our vulnerable communities to help get their members vaccinated, and more importantly, give them the support they need to do so.